Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Borough of Culture opening weekend

In Borough of Culture, Events, Uncategorized on January 22, 2019 at 11:30 am

Well what a big start to the year. My partner’s parents made a trip over from West London on the Saturday and we got a cab over to Lloyd Park (the parents are in their 70’s and wanted to save their energy). We hoped by getting there at opening time we’d get in quickly. As we walked down Winns Terrace we saw instead we’d just joined at peak queue. But while it took an hiur to get in at least we got to enjoy the Nest installation from a distance.


In the trees….

When we got in we went up the East path past the gallery where we were greated by the Sony Walkman logo #sarcasm



The park had glowing white globes scattered about. A bit like an episode of ‘The Prisoner’.



When we came to the tennis courts the Walthamstow Film Club was holding a ‘silent cinema’ where we were handed a headset on the way in to listen to the soundtrack of the short films they were showing.


Finally we can watch a film in the ‘stow without teenagers loudly talking!

The short films seemed to be about local people. It was a bit ‘Media Studies Final Year Project’ but heartfelt. We only watched a couple.

Hooking around to the island we approached the Nest as it was inactive and it came to life as we got to just outside the ring of motorised lights that it consists of. And as the choiral music built up we were awed by a swooping show of spiralling, swooping shafts of light. It was drizzling softly and the water drops were turned into tiny rainbows when they hit the powerful light beams.


It’s so pretty!

It reminded me of the end of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. It was simple yet hugely effective, the lights making spots dance in the clouds and when lowered created lively shadows in the park’s trees.


Take us to your leader

After the end of the show we came past the West side of the house. There was a street food market which we skipped, although we noted the lantern making workshop for kids. In from of the house on the ’roundabout’ were a bunch of gas fire sculptures, which also offered much appreciated warmth.


It goes a bit ‘Mad Max’


I bring you fire, do de doo doooo

We exited the park and made our way to the town hall via the road shut to traffic. More gas braziers lit the way and there were street performers coming in and out of the area.





Everything is better with a Samba band.

At the town hall my partner’s parents were starting to flag in the cold. So we didn’t go into the grounds and watched the show through the fence. In the grounds were more fire features (well, gardens can have water features so why not?). And night signs in the trees.


The trees had been filed with light installations from God’s Own Junkyard creators.

The show projected on the town halls frontage, highlighting architectural details like windows and doors as individual elements.


A lot of music and words from the people of Walthamstow.

Overall it was a great start to the year. Given the weather and the dark a light show makes heaps of sense. On the Saturday there were clearly thousands of people; the Bell was heaving, the chip shop had a queue for food and walking home along Hoe street a lot of the shops were doing business. A literal and figurative bright start to the year of being Borough of Culture.


Walthamstow Pride

In Events, Uncategorized on August 5, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Well, that’s a title I never thought I’d get to write!

After two homophobic attacks a group of local residents decided to take constructive action and last weekend was the inaugural Walthamstow Pride. With 2 months notice a bash was put together in the town square. A collection of stalls of local groups welcome us on a very sunny day and after a browse my partner and I stretched out on a bit of ‘grass’ (okay, by this point in the Summer the square is more of a desert). As often at events it was late getting starting, but a bit of music through the PA system set a nice mood. Eventually things got officially started by the organisers.


The committee kicks things off.

(BTW I’m limiting myself to just that one photo. The committee are ‘public faces’ but I don’t want to help bigots find targets).

After introductions it started off with some live music by a guy with his guitar and a sample looper, which was nice.

Sadly after 2 hours we had to go to another event, so the late start meant we missed a bunch of it. But we were glad we turned up at the start when it was quiet. By the time we left there was around 100 people but totals apparently reached 500 in the early evening. And the evening events in the Rose and Crown and Chequers were apparently successful.

I think it achieved it’s goal and this little, quickly organised event will be even bigger next year.

‘No Ordinary Bicycle’ exhibition

In Events, Uncategorized on January 20, 2018 at 4:43 pm

With a change of plans my partner and I found ourselves remaining in the stow this weekend. With inclement weather we decided to go and check out the new exhibition at Vestry House museum.

Before we got to the exhibition space we found the room to the left of the entrance had had a redesign. When I moved to the stow it had a fascinating exhibition of Walthamstow’s cinematic history but that was replaced by a boring, generic room about the Tudors. However it now has a show about Vestry house itself and tying into that the history of poorhouses of the time. There is also an 1822 map of Walthamstow and my partner and I had fun picking out landmarks.

We then moved on to the new temporary exhibition. ‘No Ordinary Bicycle’ celebrates the desinf achievements of Walthamstow born engineer John Kemp Starley. He invented the modern bicycle as we now know it, with equal size wheels and a chain driven rear wheel utilising a diamond shape frame. But with his improvements came a social revolution of affordable transport. This is explored in amusing detail in the 15 minute animated film and then expanded on with the surrounding material.

It’s a fascinating show, illustrating how good design can have huge social change contributin to female emancipation and expanding the gene pool!

Warner Road Street Party

In Events, Uncategorized on July 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm

My better half lives on leafy, pleasant Warner Road. We’d been to a street party with fellow residents before but I had to miss the last one in 2015 and my partner wasn’t there long due to a health problem.

After a rainy Saturday we’d worried about the weather but heading up at 10:30 to help set up it was cool and sunny. More organised neighbours had gotten everything booked; the permits to close the road, bouncy castle and the Rose and Crown pub supplying the beer. So we just had to help with fetching and carrying. St Michaels church lent us tables from their hall so we helped carry thos around and I climbed on on to help put the beautiful, hand made bunting up.

People started drifting up from the rest of the street. It was quiet at first but as one resident, Dave, pointed out they’d all been busy cooking! My partner and I had just brought supermarket nibbles (we’re not great in the kitchen) but others brought amazing pakura, samosas, croquettes, pasta and salads.

We have a surprising number of kids on the street and they’d soon started running around with water pistols, bouncing on the inflatable castle, playing ping-pong, drawing or just loading up on enough sugar to fuel an elephant. Some of the more constructive adults had fun making go karts for the kids, although watching them have fun with power tools became a spectator event in itself!


The bouncy castle was in constant use the whole afternoon!

The adults loaded up a different way; some had brought drinks (including one who simply emptied a case of Kronenburg for everyone) but many of us enjoyed the ELB Pale ale and Millwhites cider put on by Viv from the Rose and Crown. Who probably did more business by bringing along Murphy, an adorable pup for us to all coo over.


It was sunny most of the afternoon. It wasn’t to last…

One great addition to this party were the hand made name badges. It made it all easier to chat without worrying about forgetting names.

I wasn’t intending to stay the whole afternoon but had such a good time I was still there when we started to tidy up at 5PM. Which was perfect timing as the clouds had started to roll in. The rain started up light at first but gradually accelerated and I was drenched through carrying tables back to the hall. But many hands make light work and we’d soon deconstructed it to the gazebos with the last drinks of the day being consumed.

There’s a lot of use of the word ‘community’ when people talk online about Walthamstow. When I moved to London 20 years ago I left behind a life where if people didn’t know me they’d often know a family member or a mutual acquaintance. London was a new life and I adored the anonymity of the big city. But nowadays there are many opportunities to engage as much or little as one likes.  The whole street party was organised through the Facebook group for street residents. There are online groups for local selling and swapping and a while one for local whinging. People are self organising into communities without the weight of expectation of level of involvement.

Nowadays I’m enjoying my local community, virtual and real. Shit, I even started a blog about it.

Froth & Rind and the 60’s Photo Exhibition Review

In Events, food on June 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

After a visit to the excellent Goddards Vet Clinic to pic up a new cat carrier after our cat bust his last one my partner and I wanted to grab some lunch. Not gripped by any of the wares on the little Orford Road Saturday market we decided to give Froth&Rind a try.


So this little cafe is simply kitted out and the menu seems to be predominantly craft beer (I imagine canned/bottled), coffee and toasted cheese sandwiches (I imagine Froth&Rind&Hops is a bit unmanageable). They do have a few other things on offer.

May partner and I decided to go for a classic chedder cheese and onion pickle toastie. No diet coke in this classy place, but Fentiman’s Lemonade for me and coffee for my SO was fine. Sadly I was so hungry by this time I’d eaten the food before I thought of a photo! While the bread wasn’t as great as the toasties in Central cafe (being your own bakery) the filling was so ample it spilled out (yay for napkins). But hey, Central is a bit more pricey too.

It was warm indoors so we sat out front being all continental. Fortunately there no smokers about, although the yummy mummy coming out with a crying child in one hand and a tiny coffee in the other had us laughing with “I’ll buy you some brie later, sweetie!” Ah, you know when you’re in the village…

Not much of a review I guess, but when we’re next in the village I’d go back for more. A little later in the day and a toastie with a beer sounds a great way to spend an hour.

Since we were in the area we dropped into Vestery House Museum to see their 1960’s photo exhibition. There are lots of great pictures of the area, many of the usual local landmarks. I liked one of the Priory Court Estate as you can see the old Walthamstow FC ground where my home is now. There were also lots of newspaper clippings and other ephemera. As public transport users we particularly enjoyed the bits about the opening of the Victoria Line, and the quotes of locals wondering who would want to use it! The exhibition is free and well worth 15 minutes if you’re in the area.


May Day at Lloyd Park

In Events on May 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm

I’ve never quite made it to the May Day event at the park, even though it’s near where I live. And with the grey skies this year raining on me and my partner on our way to limp sandwiches at St James street Costa I came close to missing it again. But my other half wanted a walk so we strolled over for a look.

When we got there to the large back field it had not long officially started but there were well over 100 people there, many with small children. We were immediately drawn to the Maypole where organisers were organising many children into holding ribbons and dancing around.


Dancing around the May Pole

Yet again I’m impressed at our community’s determination to go out and have fun no matter the weather.

It was not as busy an event as the Garden party but there was a long line of stalls around the outskirts of the field.


More fun than the Fyre Festival!

We gave the inflatable slides a miss and started at the other end. There were many food stalls which at 12:30 were already getting business.


Yay, Chips With Dips is back!

As you can imagine, we rapidly regretted the Costa limp sandwiches.

Chips with Dips is back in service with a revamped van. I hope to see them at other local events. Giggly Pig from the Farmers Market was there and many other food stalls.


Love this hot dog stall’s branding.

Speaking of dogs we were far to early for the dog fancy dress pageant but there were loads of pooches socialising. We enjoyed a happy 5 minutes watching people try and persuade their dogs around the obstacle course. Adorable unintentional comedy.


Doggie training

It was a nice community event and it was great to see the Friends of Lloyd park getting a lot of attention. Well done to all involved.

History of the Granada/EMD talk

In Events on November 20, 2016 at 4:44 pm

So last weekend my partner and I went to a smashing talk by Nigel Pitt, a member of the CTA (Cinema Theatre Association) at Mirth, Marvel and Maude. It was held in what was screen 2 in the old cinema (small one on the left). As we’re long time McGuffins members (my partner was one of the founders) we were really keen to go see the state of the cinema.


There’s now a little bar at the back! Note the mix of wooden benches and original seats.

We filtered in with about 20 people; mostly CTA and local history buffs, I’d imagine. We had some time while the equipment was still being set up so I took the opportunity to have a nose around. Back between the McGuffins original protesting at the restrictive Odeon sales covenant and at the UCKG we were a film club. We would show art house and foreign films in either screen 2 or 3 every month. So it was eerie being back there after so many years.


The wooden benches look like they have been recovered from a church. Just visible is the carpentry on the feet to make them work on the sloped floor!

Obviously this is not the main auditorium where all the most beautiful architecture is but a lot of the ceiling plasterwork is still in place.


It was dark so many of my phone camera photos don’t show the detail. This well lit shot reveals the lovely ceiling detail.

The seating was a mix of old cinema seats (original to the EMD I suspect) with some wooden benches in the middle rows. We opted for the padding of the old flip down seats.


The age of the flip seats is clear.

The Mirth is showing some films as one-off events in this screen. That night they had a showing of ‘Saturday Night Fever’. It’s not exactly commercial cinema but if they achieve a Prince Charles lever of offbeat underground cool (or even, a modern day Scala) then the ‘stow could have a real success story on its hands.


Nigel had a great collection of old photos to illustrate his talk.

Nigel’s talk started with a potted local history of local cinema in the area up to the construction of the Granada in 1933. This was important as it revealed the scale of the building; it effectively double the number of cinema seats in Waltham Forest (as it is now) by a claimed 3,000 seats (actually 2697). It was a more upmarket than the competition and would have all afternoon shows with films (the first film shown was ‘Splinters’), live organ recitals.

The talk continued walking through its history, making especial note of architectural changes such as the changes due to V1 doodlebug blast damage (the front room was used as a make shift morgue). The change from film to live music in the 50’s and 60’s as TVs became common place in the home (with the obligatory list of famous acts who played here). And on through the Odeon years, the EMD and the McGuffins fight against the UCKG.

Then we had a talk by Mr Hardcastle (sorry, I didn’t get his first name). He was dressed in the elaborate uniform of a cinema commissioner and had been welcoming people as they arrived at Mirth, Marvel and Maude. He talked about the role of the commissioner and how they told people of the showing times (no interweb back then!) and whether there were free seats in the current showing.

At the end the CTA guys had a whip round for local charity Heat or Eat. We got to have a lovely chat with them afterwards. My partner’s parents are CTA members and the association does a lot of work preserving these lovely old buildings as modern places of entertainment.

I really hope that one day soon the main auditorium will be recovered and they can do the same talk in a majestic space. With an organ recital.



Small Wonder exhibition, Hoe Street

In Events, music on September 11, 2016 at 2:54 pm

I love me some music history. Not classical or jazz, but I’m an old rock and metal fan and that takes in punk too. So I really enjoyed reading in the E-List about how Pete and Mari Stennett started Small Wonder Records on Hoe street in the late 1970’s. So today after a slap up Sunday lunch at Chequers my partner and I headed 0ver to the small shop along from Central Parade which the council formerly used for pop up businesses but it now an exhibition dedicated to the ‘Stow’s most famous record shop.

They even have a recreation of the shop sign!

They even have a recreation of the shop sign!

The exhibition covers the walls and is wonderfully curated chronologically, with years stencilled on the walls. There is loads of ephemera which I assume was collected from many of the shop’s old customers (the exhibition’s thank you list is long). There are record covers, clips from music magazines and fanzine covers. Interspersed are recollections of customers, both local and those who bought mail order. As well as launcing the careers of Bahaus, The Cure and giving a boost to many others Small Wonder also sold records around the world.

The center piece of the exhibition is a recreation of the shop itself. This was way before my time but I have to wonder if the smell of cigarettes is missing! But it did take me back to similar shops I went to in my teenage years.

The exhibition is on to the 18th September and is a wonderful telling of a beautiful, creative story from the Stow’s history.

Stoneydown Folk Festival

In Events, music, Uncategorized on June 19, 2016 at 8:12 pm

After a nice lunch this Sunday my partner and I headed to Stoneydown park which is near where we live. Previous festivals have either had blazing sun or grim rain but this year seemed to be a compromise of warmish overcast.


A good turnout

We had a bit of a wander around. The music was nice, but not a genre I’m a fan of. There were many craft stalls around. We bought some Stow themed cards off local artist Farah Ishaq. She was raising money for her Masters degree she is about to start at the University Of London. Alongside her stall were various soft goods, textiles and other printers. “The home of those who make and create” indeed.

Speaking of local creators the Wildcard brewery provided a bar. A pint of Queen of Diamonds went down well as we sat and people watched.


Ukulele band

My partner observed that there were very few teenagers about. Lots of young families but fewer established families. With the surrounding Warner estate being mostly flat I guess many families move out of the area when they have more than one child.

Before heading off we went to look at the food vans which had been cleverly located in the neighbouring school grounds. My partner enjoyed some chips from the local chippie van Chips n’ Dips. Nom nom.

I’ve always loved how the park is used by a lot of the local community. The annual festival seems to be the pinnacle of this and I hope it encourages more locals to make use of this nice little space.

Walthamstow Garden Party

In Events, food, music on July 18, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Well the council and the Barbican had such a roaring success last year they went and did it again. My partner and I got to Lloyd park at 12:30 as we did last year and yet again avoided the queues. Which was great as when we left at 18:00 the line of people coming in had snaked down Forest Road, Winns Terrace and could be seen snaking off down Winns Avenue!

The weather was perfect, warm with a nice breeze. We had a look in the William Morris shop and the craft stalls out front first. Had a nose into the local food stall tent and said hi to the guys from Forest Wine. Then wandered down to the food stalls where we fueled up for the day on fish dogs and chips while watchig an African dance troupe in the main marquee.

East African Dancers

East African Dancers

We had a nose in the community tents, avoided getting roped into volunteering (hey, I help the McGuffins!) and then settled on the little hill to watch music, with a nice cold lager in my hand. There were a children’s choir and a steel band and then the Walthamstow Massive group who made me very happy with an excellent rendition of ELO’s ‘Mr Blue Sky’.

Frederick Bremer Choir

Frederick Bremer Choir

Actually there were *loads* of kids and we saw lots of things put on for them. Looked like a really good day out for families.

At the North entrance was a well organised bike park.

At the North entrance was a well organised bike park.

Anyway we had a look into the artists studios which was cool. Bought some Xmas cards from Sprankenstein. It looked to us that there were a lot less studios than there used to be, sadly.

Anyway we wandered back into the local produce tent and got fruit and veg juice from Moju. We settled under a tree in the gallery gardens and had a bit of a snooze before a final, slow wander. I love the facilities in the park and the large play space for kids.

Eventually we felt tired so ambled off home, but we’re looking forward to next year’s big party in the heart of Awesomestow.

A yoga workshop

A yoga workshop

The big tent behind the food stalls

The big tent behind the food stalls

Lots of things to try!

Lots of things to try!

Good news from the Happy Meter!

Good news from the Happy Meter!